Cuchillo – Serves Up Creative Latin American Plates

Cuchillo, opened a few weeks ago in the heart of downtown east side where Railtown meets Chinatown. They have seen their share of protests so I decided to go and show my support. Cuchillo serves up creative Latin American dishes that are meant to be shared.

Cuchillo long table
Cuchillo long table

Unfortunately, they were just vandalized a few hours before, so they had to board up one of their windows. Don’t let this deter you from going though, this restaurant is worth a try.

They have this beautiful tall table parallel to the bar and in the back they have lounge area with comfy recliners. The atmosphere is friendly and relaxing, décor is similar to the Diamond in Gastown, except Cuchillo’s service is far superior, everyone was welcoming and staff was knowledgeable.  The service I received at Diamond was so bad that they were added and moved up to the top of my blacklist, the only restaurant on this list because of poor service, the others I was due to food poisoning. I will save that story for later.

They serve my favourite mojito’s in town. I like my classic drinks to stay classic. I stay away from any berry infused drinks. Cuchillo topped their mojito’s with dark rum. Yummy! My friend said it was too minty but, I I thought it was the perfect hit.

mojito topped with dark rum
mojito topped with dark rum

Antojitos and Taqueria’s – small plates and tacos

Corn bread azul with guajillo chili butter $7 was made out of blue cornmeal resulting in a grainier texture. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. Corn bread are usually very dense, Cuchillo’s was fluffier and moist. The chili butter gave it some nice heat.

Corn bread azul with guajillo chili butter
Corn bread azul with guajillo chili butter

White bean parmasean fundido $8 with corn chips is quite filling. It is essentially a white bean dip, with pumpkin seed, cotija Monterey jack, sardo parmesan and two other Argentinean cheeses. The cheese was sharp, heavy on garlic and the bean was a perfect consistency. You’d need an appetite, this is a heavy dish

White bean parmasean fundido
White bean parmasean fundido

Mixto Traditionale, octopus, sidestripe prawn, rockfish, mussels, clams, sweet potato puree. $14. After having the last two dishes that had huge flavor, the ceviche was relatively light. The seafood was fresh but, I would have liked more seasoning.

octopus, sidestripe prawn, rockfish, mussels, clams, sweet potato puree.
octopus, sidestripe prawn, rockfish, mussels, clams, sweet potato puree.

Mole Lamb albondigas, sardo parmasean browned garlic popcorn $8. This was my favourite dish, the lamb which was served in a lamb-ball was amazing. Think the lamb mixture was mixed with beef, I don’t get the intense gaminess lamb flavor. It was juicey and topped with popcorn which gave it a nice texture. I have to admit I was sold on the popcorn first before our server even mentioned lamb.

lamb taco
lamb taco

Morita chili bbq pulled pork. This pulled pork taco was pretty run of the mill. The bbq sauce was very nice, sweet, not overly savoury and the pulled pork wasn’t drowning in the sauce. I’ve had so many pulled pork dishes that I getting sick of it. This would be my last pulled pork dish for the season.

Morita chili bbq pulled pork.
Morita chili bbq pulled pork.

My two cents on DTES Gentrification Protests…

My two cents on the protests
My two cents on the protests

As for this bullshit about it being expensive, well it is more expensive than Everything $5? Yes, the quality of the food is far superior, what do you expect to pay for quality ingredients, of course it costs more. Share plates range from $6 – 14, you get two decent sized tacos for $8 and, entrees range from $18 – $24. The prices are a little lower than what you would find in the heart of downtown and the food is crazy good. It’s not an Applebee’s, you won’t get bottomless fries and a heaping plate of pasta bigger than your head, that’s just nasty. So before you whine that it’s too expensive, go out to comparable restaurants around town to get some perspective.

DTES is not exactly a tourist attraction but, some parts of Gastown isn’t either. If I never venture out then I would not get a chance to experience gems like Pidgin and Cuchillo. Try it out yourself before you turn up your nose at these restaurants because of their location.

Cuchillo on Urbanspoon

Cuchillo, Gastown

Local Dragon’s Den Success, Celebrating Urban Farming

Tarren Wolfe, owner and inventor of Living Produce Aisle and a Dragon’s Den success story, takes fresh and local produce to the next level. Located in Gastown, customers will be able to choose from a dozens of different micro greens and herbs and have them freshly cut right from the urban cultivators.

ned-tarren living produce aisle

Their menu created by Four Season’s Executive Chef Ned Bell, mainly consists of smoothies and salads. A delicious recipe below – tried and tested.

Ned Bell - Living Produce Aisle

Urban cultivator was only offered for commercial uses, have been miniaturized for consumer consumption. Recommended for anyone who wants to take control of what they eat and start growing their own greens and herbs 365 days a year.

Skeptical at first, while I get the whole grow your own food sell, how was this green, this thing is on 24 hours a day, everyday. Upon further discussion, Urban Cultivators has the same energy output as a dishwasher.

Commercial Urban Cultivator - LPA

Ned Bell was spending around $2000/ month on fresh herbs and micro greens at the Four Seasons, an investment in one of these industrial sized ‘farm in a box’ retails for $6000 turned out to be a huge money saver. The home model produces about $1000 worth of greens per year, paying for itself in approximately two years.

For regular consumers like myself, I’d stick to purchasing pots. The greens were perfect, no yellowing, no holes where bugs nibbled. Walking in there are rows and rows of green machines, not even a designer landscape artist could reach to this level of perfection.

micro greens - Living Produce Aisle

All seeds are non-GMO and organic, Wolfe’s main supplier is Mumm’s from Saskatchewan.

Chef Ned’s “Sweet, Salty, Nutty and Fruity” Cranberry Hazelnut Honey Balsamic Salad

Artisan lettuce, Pea Tendrils, Beat Tops, Arugula, Kale Micro’s, locally grown and roasted Hazelnuts, locally grown Cranberries and Chef Ned’s Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Honey Balsamic Vinaigrette:

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups canola oil
  • 2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup honey
  • 4 tbsp sea salt
  • 3 tbsp cracked black pepper

Method:

Puree everything in a Vita Mix Blender. Check for seasoning and adjust with sea salt and pepper to taste.

 Additional Applications:

  • This dressing is great on any mixed greens or lettuces.
  • It is also a great dip for vegetables or fruits (apples, pears melon)
  • Try it with a warm potato salad, mixed bean salad, green beans, asparagus or your favourite pasta salad or cooked quinoa.
  • Serve with Dried Cranberries and Toasted Hazelnuts sprinkled on top

Enjoy

Wildebeest – Hot Gastown Restaurant

wildebeast kitchen

It was a packed house for Saturday night at 9PM. Upon walking in you sense the Gastown hipster vibe, you when it’s uber cool to be anti – pretentious, they are so cool that they are turning pretentious, without realizing it, it’s a personal observation.

Now the food…
Slow-cooked natural Angus beef short rib, smoked salt, hay-infused jus. One of the more popular items on Wildebeast’s dinner menu. Ribs were souveed for 2 days then finished on the grilled. As expected very tender and smoky. Great except for my first piece, I grabbed the rib on the left, the entire piece was fat and bone. 3.5/5
Ribs

Grilled beef tongue, wild mushroom consommé, toasted grains, mustard greens. Our favourite dish, the Asian inspired shiitake and dashi mushroom consume was made in-house, wow it was packed with flavor. I threw out my table manners and greedily slurped up the broth. 4.5/5
Beef tongue

Pork jowl, long pepper-scented oats, bourbon barrel-aged maple syrup. Don’t be put off by the mush, which would remind you of oatmeal. Eat it together and you will understand and appreciate the combination. Sweet and salt with a little bacon fat, delicious. I mentioned, if my mom made oatmeal like this she wouldn’t have trouble feeding me in the morning. Yes, I was fussy even then. 4/5
Pig jowl

The service was satisfactory, it was great in the beginning then as the night progressed they got surlier. By the end of the night I was afraid to ask for a refill of water, less they gave me the glance that said “what you need water? Now?!

All in all  I would head back, the food was good enough for a second visit.

 

 

 

 

Wildebeest on Urbanspoon

Cartems Donuterie – Claim to Fame

DONUTS. This word is enough to induce Homer Simpson into a trance-like drool. Lately this word is on the tip of most foodies’ tongues.

How so?  One donut company that has been on my radar is Cartems Donuterie. This donuterie is known to use fresh, locally sourced, and organic ingredients. Their claim to fame is their handmade donuts are offered in a variety of creative flavors and are one of the shops that offer vegan and gluten-free donuts.

Caroline (Food Persuasion) and I set out on this tasty adventure and found out that we should have waited at the shop when we first arrived. When we came back a few minutes before opening time, she was shocked to see a line up form in front of the shop.

Since the shop is located on Hastings and Carrall (edge of Gastown), you’re bound to find some very interesting characters there. Some of the interesting passer-bys thought that we were crazy lining up for a $3 donut. Damn, these donuts should be tasty!

Another interesting character to note was the man on a bike near the door. He was a hoot! He blurted out that he doesn’t believe in lining up but rather go in and grab what he needs and leave. “This is how I got this muffin!”, he boasts. Then HE went on to say how good the donuts are at Cartems. One guy in the lineup pointed out to the man that he had a muffin (mind you, it was a Superstore sized jumbo muffin). The man scoffs, “This thing? Meh!” and pretends to throw it over his shoulder. Everyone in the lineup had a good laugh before proceeding to buy the yummy donuts.

Initially, my intention was to get the Maple Bacon Bourbon. After hearing that the first 2 people in the line bought all of them, my heart was broken.

what was left

Caroline and I decided to get different donuts to try, instead. I got The Campfire and the Earl Grey and Caroline got the Breakfast donut and the Triple Chocolate threat.

After purchasing the donuts, we went to International Village to sample our goodies.

The first donut we tried was the Triple Chocolate Threat. This is a chocolate donut dipped in chocolate ganache and sprinkled with crisp Callebaut chocolate pearls. This chocolate donut was slightly dense and dry. It wasn’t as rich as I expected. However, I loved how the chocolate pearls gave texture to this donut.

Triple Threat Donut - Cartems Donuterie

The next donut we tried was the Breakfast donut. This was a baked whole wheat donut with organic figs, flax seeds and honey. Densely packed with healthy ingredients, this donut tasted like a healthy pancake. It also had pockets of honey which was a pleasant surprise.

Breakfast donut - Cartems Donuterie

The third donut we had was The Campfire. It was a chocolate donut dipped in chocolate ganache, sprinkled with graham crumbs, and topped with a handmade vanilla marshmallow that’s drizzled with chocolate. This was the ultimate s’mores donut! This donut was light and chocolately and not sugary sweet. It was my favorite chocolate donut! The handmade marshmallow was definitely a nice touch.

Campfire Donut - Cartems Donuterie

Last but not least, was the Earl Grey donut. This was an earl grey cake donut with an earl grey glaze, sprinkled with mallow flowers (flowers used in earl grey tea). This donut was slightly dense and the subtle flavour of the tea comes through after one bite. This was my favorite donut of the ones I’ve tried!

Earl Grey Donut - Cartems Donuterie

Overall, Cartems Donuts are definitely worth it! It’s made with locally sourced organic ingredients and are handmade. They come in many creative flavors and are simply delicious! I also recommend visiting the shop as the owners, Rags, was fantastic, as you can see him and his team being passionate in what they do. (Not to mention the interesting characters you’ll see when you are waiting in line for the donuts.)

One day, I hope to try all the flavors.

One day, the Maple Bourbon Bacon donut will be mine! 😛

Cartems Donuterie (Pop-up Shop) on Urbanspoon


Author:

Anita of (Petite Foodie)

A Dynamo Food Blogger with an infectious enthusiasm for sharing her love of delicious food with others. You can reach her on twitter @petitefoodie or check out her blog Petite Foodie

Related Eateries:
Giovanne Cafe
Thierry Patisserie
Ganache Patisserie

Cartems Donuterie – Sneak Preview

Exciting sneek preview of Cartems Donuterie next week. Anita of Petite Foodie and I had a delicious #donuttweetup last weekend. Cartems Donuterie, a popup shop in Gastown has become the hottest place with a cult following. They have creative donut varieties, what?! What’s Tim Hortons? Rex, owner of Cartems, hailed as Vancouver’s Artisan Donut Maker.

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There was a lineup before the doors were opened, we were 5th in line.

5th in line

This was what was left when we arrived at the counter.

what was left

25 minutes later, it was soldout for the rest of the day. Rex, amazed at his success has noted, that they would go through more than 400 donuts a day and sellout everyday by afternoon.

Can’t wait for Petite Foodie’s guest post next week.

The Greatest Summer Patio Roundup

A Must Patio List For This Summer in Vancouver.

What I love about Summer? Patio and beach hopping while sipping on my favourite summer drinks, mojito’s and sangria’s. To help you get into the swing of patio season, I’ve come up with a list of my favourite patio’s in Vancouver. They are my faves because of their fun vibe, view and of course the patio itself.

I love Kits in the Summer. Every time I am in Kits on a sunny day I wished I still live here. The vibe is so fun and vibrant.

Local Public Eatery patio, situated right across Kitsilano beach is a popular place for sun worshipers and locals. It’s fun and I believe they still have sangria’ specials.

Local Kitsilano Patio
amglifestyle.com

Another Ktisilano patio is right on the beach, The Boathouse.

The boathouse patio kitsilano beach

vancourier.com

Speaking of beaches, Cactus Club English Bay is very popular for beach go-ers for a quick bite. Although, I would rather just sit in the sand.

Cactus Club English Bay Patio
aol

Patio’s in Granville Island will give you an undisturbed view of Vancouver’s harbor. A very popular tourist destination.

Dockside

Dockside Granville Island Patio
thelifedeliciousblog.com

Bridges

Bridges Restaurant Granville Island Patio
insidevancouver.ca

Chill Winston, is still one of my go to patio’s. The vibe is fun and the patio is street level and, people watching is one of my favourite pastimes. The largest patio in Gastown

Chill Winston Patio Gastown
vancouver bars

The Keefer with a pool in the middle of the rooftop lounge

The keefer rooftop patio
klondikecontracting.com

The Keg in Yaletown rooftop patio and lounge is chic and full of Yaletown yuppies.

The Keg Yaletown Rooftop Patio
vitamin daily

Another restaurant for good seafood and has a gorgeous rooftop garden patio is Joe Fortes

Joe fortes rooftop garden patio
joe fortes

Hidden patio at Gotham’s Steakhouse

Gotham's Steakhouse Garden Patio
vancouverfoodster.com

Reflections rooftop lounge patio on the 4th floor of Hotel Georgia is one of the more swank patio’s downtown. Reminds me of Las Vegas, you can check out my review.  Reflections has corporate atmosphere that turns into a meat market for brokers later in the evening. Quickly becoming a hotspot

Reflections Rooftop Lounge Patio
Food Persuasion

Market Shangri-La rooftop patio is another swank patio although not as big as Reflections.

Market Shangri -La Vancouver Rooftop Patio
provokestudios.blogspot.com

Havana’s on Commercial drive has such a fun and vibrant atmosphere.

Havana's Patio Commercial Drive

The Mill, situated on the Coal Harbour’s seawall is a very popular spot for tourists and locals. The only negative, I found was their limited drink menu . How can you not have mojito’s or sangria’s if you have a patio??? Although the vibe and view compensates their lack of drink selections.

The Mill Patio - Coal Harbour Seawall
seevancouverbc.com

Mahoney and Sons Coal Harbour has undisturbed and expansive views of the harbor. It is an irish bar, popular amongst tourists and the after work crowd. Check out my review of Mahoney and Sons.

Mahoney and Sons Patio Vancouver
Food Persuasion

Thierry not because it’s the nicest patio but because they serve dessert. As far as dessert places goes, Theirry has the nicest patio. Check out my review of Thierry

Theirry Vancouver Patio

Beachside Forno, in North Vancouver. Overlooking the harbour.

Beachside Forno patio
scout.magazine

Finally, Art Gallery garden patio

Vancouver Art Gallery Garden Patio
thestar.com

I know there are many others, if you have any other patio’s you want to suggest add it in the comment section and I will include it in this post.

Irish Heather – Long Table Series

Irish Heather – Long Table Series – Gastown Vancouver, BC

/**Update**/

Restaurant did get back to me via Twitter regarding the Lamb. As long as the quality of the lamb is good the it is more than ok to consume a rare lamb patty

Food Persuasion Level : [rating=3]
Value: [rating=4]
Service : [rating=4]
Ambiance: [rating=5]
Price: $
Cuisine: Pub, Dining Event
Location: Gastown

I love the social aspect of Irish Heather’s Long Table Series. Sharing a meal with 25 other like minded foodies over funny conversations. It was a sold out night and everyone was friendly, relaxed and more than willing to share some laughs.

Featured beer: Kronenbourg Blanc

Kronenbourg Blanc Beer

Brewed in Alsace, France, this is a light, crisp beer with notes of peach, pink grapefruit, coriander and, orange.

Paired with: Lamb Burger, Mint Salsa, Shaved Asiago Cheese, Caramelized Onions With A Radish & Arugula Salad. The burger was too saucy, making everything seem soggy.

Lamb Burger

The lamb was too rare for my taste. No, I did NOT get sick. Apparently, it is ok to eat it this rare .

Rare Lamb Patty

Judging by the reviews from patrons that were there and who attended multiple times and reviews from other bloggers this was just an off night. I will be back!

Irish Heather on Urbanspoon